MAYOR of London Boris Johnson has given the green light to Westfield/Hammerson's £1 billion redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre - leaving Eric Pickles as the final hurdle to clear. The Mayor said the 1.5 million square development would confirm Croydon as one of "London's most vibrant town centres". He said: "This development will usher in a new era of prosperity for Croydon and help return it to its former glory. Hammerson has an excellent track record and the recent Westfield developments in London created thousands of jobs and attracted millions of visitors, giving others the confidence to invest. "I am in no doubt that this new development will have a similar positive impact in Croydon and breathe new life and vitality into the town. There is no doubt that Croydon can once again become one of London's most vibrant town centres and a major driver of our economy and this development will bring that aspiration one step closer to reality." Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell said: "This is the clearest evidence yet that there is unanimous political support for construction to commence as fast as possible. "I will be writing to the Communities Secretary asking him not to call the application in given it is broadly consistent with national planning policy, the London Plan and the Croydon Plan. "Boris said: 'This development will usher in a new era of prosperity for Croydon and help return it to its former glory'. Amen to that." The scheme will now be referred to Communities secretary Eric Pickles.
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